The Truth About Whether Vaccinated People Can Spread COVID-19

With the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine, it's been a "learn as we go" kind of situation. Consider that at first, it was widely reported vaccinated individuals could still potentially spread the illness to those who had not received their shots. For instance, a December 9, 2021 New York Times story advised even if you were immunized, you should still wear a mask because it was unknown if you would spread the virus to others.

But now, the Centers for Disease Control is updating this information, noting that given more time, researchers have been able to determine vaccinated people are unlikely to pass on the infection that has forever changed our lives.

"Vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don't get sick, and that is not just in the clinical trials but it's also in real world data," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky explained during an appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show this week (via People).

Why vaccinated people are unlikely to spread COVID-19 to others

Of course, it is not impossible for a vaccinated person to get sick with COVID-19, with reports emerging that fully-immunized individuals have been infected (via Forbes).

But, as Dr. Robert Gallo, a virus expert at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, told ABC News, "A vaccinated person controls the virus better, so the chances of transmitting will be greatly reduced."

Data is encouraging, with current studies show less virus is present in the nose of a vaccinated individual. But overall, as People reports, getting vaccinated means you are 90 percent less likely to get infected two weeks after the second shot — so, less people are getting sick in the first place, making them less likely to pass on the infection.

It's important to note asymptomatic infections in vaccinated people are still possible — so wearing a mask even after getting both shots is still highly recommended.